Amanda Loder

Amanda Loder was StateImpact’s multimedia reporter until the project merged with the New Hampshire Public Radio site in July 2013. She now serves as a reporter and Weekend Edition Host for NHPR. You can continue to follow her work at @AmandaLoderNHPR, at, and on New Hampshire Public Radio.

Farewell, StateImpact New Hampshire

From Left: StateImpact Reporter Emily Corwin, NHPR News Director Sarah Ashworth, and StateImpact Reporter Amanda Loder

Becky Lettenberger / NPR

From Left: StateImpact Reporter Emily Corwin, NHPR News Director Sarah Ashworth, and StateImpact Reporter Amanda Loder

After two years and hundreds of posts, multimedia features, and radio stories, StateImpact New Hampshire is freezing this website and moving our business and economic coverage to NHPR.

StateImpact New Hampshire launched in late July of 2011 as a pilot collaboration between NPR and New Hampshire Public Radio.  The mission was to cover the business beat in a way that hadn’t been done before: using a combination of multimedia, data analysis, and shoe-leather reporting to break down how public policies, trends, and daily news developments affect regular people.

A hallmark of StateImpact New Hampshire has been our flexibility.  We began as a one-person, all-digital operation in our first year, focusing heavily on data and trends.  In the spring of 2012, we added a team member and expanded our reach into radio features, special series, and even video.  We will take this multi-faceted reporting mindset to the NHPR newsroom, where we will continue to find innovative ways to cover business, the economy, and other issues important to Granite Staters.

We thank you for following us on our social media accounts and RSS feed, and for checking in with the site.  We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in such a short stretch of time, and hope you will continue to follow our work at NHPR.

It’s always tough to narrow down years of work into a short list of highlights…but these are the stories that readers, listeners, and our peers have singled-out: Continue Reading

From Black Gold To Green Economy: Long-Time Entrepreneur Talks New Markets

Amanda Loder / StateImpact New Hampshire

Steve Owens is making his third foray into energy-related entrepreneurship.

It’s been three years since the Green Launching Pad initiative was started at the University of New Hampshire with $1.5 million in federal stimulus money.  The goal of the project was to fund and support the state’s most promising, eco-friendly start-ups, and enhance New Hampshire’s green economy in the long term.  Under federal rules, the GLP was required to use all of the money by last spring.  While the program is raising money to privatize, it’s been a year since it has handed out any grants.  Last week, we checked-in with the Green Launching Pad itself, and one of its biggest success stories, Portsmouth-based Revolution Energy.

Revolution Energy has the feel of a new start-up–young environmentalists-turned-businessmen wearing the jeans, t-shirts, and hoodies that have become visual short-hand for 21st century innovation culture.  But an hour’s drive southwest takes you to a very different, but no less successful, Green Launching Pad company.  EnerTrac in Hudson has seen dramatic growth since winning a $20,000 GLP grant in the first round of funding.  With more than 20 years of experience with start-ups, and wearing a dark sport coat, EnerTrac founder and CEO Steve Owens fits more into the classic mold of of an entrepreneur.  A few months ago, he moved his company into permanent office space at a nondescript business park.  Inside, the business looks ready to expand, with its white walls, open floor space, and rack of promotional t-shirts hanging up behind the reception desk. Continue Reading

Three Years Later: The Progress And Challenges Of The Green Launching Pad

Amanda Loder / StateImpact New Hampshire

Despite the challenges the GLP faces, Project Director Venky Venkatachalam is optimistic about the program's future.

A taxpayer-funded eco-business program is paying off for New Hampshire.  The Green Launching Pad at the University of New Hampshire has given grants to more than a dozen start-ups in the state.  But it hasn’t awarded any new funds since last year.

But the scene at the statehouse last winter was one of optimism for a cadre of entrepreneurs and their supporters.   The Green Launching Pad was awarding its companies federal money.  Over the course of two years, the program  got $1.5 million in stimulus funding to give out to the most promising green start-ups in the state.  Then-Governor John Lynch was optimistic about the program’s future even as the federal funds were drying up. Continue Reading

Renewable Energy Entrepreneur Talks Benefits, Challenges Of Going Green In N.H.

Amanda Loder / StateImpact New Hampshire

The crew at Revolution Energy are behind one of the Green Launching Pad's biggest success stories. (From left: Co-founder Mike Behrmann, Chief Scientific Officer Jon Spencer, and Co-founder Clay Mitchell.)

This week, StateImpact will be checking-in on the progress of the University of New Hampshire‘s Green Launching Pad initiative.  Begun in 2010 with $1.5 million in federal stimulus money, the GLP’s goal is to provide seed money, UNH faculty business expertise, and student interns to entrepreneurs in the state’s growing green sectors.

One of the Green Launching Pad’s biggest success stories has been Portsmouth-based Revolution Energy.  While the company started in 2008, it didn’t really start taking off until 2010.  That’s when it received a competitive $60,000 grant from the GLP in the initiative’s first round of funding. In a lot of ways, Revolution Energy looks and feels a lot like a classic start-up.  At the office, the team wears casual clothes, and the decor alternates between Dungeons and Dragons classic geek-chic and internet-age irony.

Good humor, hoodies and 20-sided dice aside, sustainability is serious business for the crew at Revolution Energy. Continue Reading

Hassan Pitches Casino During Budget Address

Alan Cleaver / Flickr Creative Commons

Hassan's budget gambles on New Hampshire allowing one, high-end casino to set up shop in the state

Governor Maggie Hassan used her budget address to propose a new, high-end casino.

Governor Hassan’s budget banks on this casino generating $80 million in licensing fees.  And she said the state is already dealing with the social costs of gambling allowed in other states, without benefiting from the revenue.

Continue Reading

Governor’s Budget Expands Public Safety Funding

Scott Davidson / Flickr Creative Commons

Like many services with state funding, law enforcement took some hits in the last budget

Calling public safety “our most important responsibility,” Governor Maggie Hassan outlined her funding proposals in today’s budget address. Comparing public safety to the state’s health care system, Hassan said it had taken “too many hits” in the last budget.  She called on legislators to “reverse course” immediately, in the interest of keeping New Hampshire residents safe.

Continue Reading

Hassan Makes Case For Raising Cigarette Tax

Larding / Flickr Creative Commons

Hassan wants to raise the cigarette tax above its original level

Governor Maggie Hassan is looking to raise New Hampshire’s cigarette tax.  In her state budget address, she pitched a  30-cent increase as good public health policy.

“New Hampshire has the highest youth smoking rate in the Northeast, with 19.8 percent of high school students who smoke cigarettes,” Hassan said.  “Cigarette taxes nationwide have proven to be one of the most effective ways to prevent youth smoking.” Continue Reading

Carroll’s Departure Stuns LGC Critics And Supporters

Amanda Loder / StateImpact New Hampshire

A number of people involved in the LGC case expressed shock at Carroll's dismissal.

Over the past several months, StateImpact has been keeping up with the various twists and turns in the Local Government Center case.  The latest development–the ouster of Executive Director Maura Carroll by the LGC board–has shocked the organization’s supporters and critics alike.

This week, I called some of the players in this ongoing saga to get their reaction to Carroll’s sudden departure, and discussed them with NHPR’s All Things Considered host Brady Carlson.

You can catch our conversation, or read the transcript, after the jump.

Continue Reading

National Rush For Firearms Benefits NH Economy

Amanda Loder / StateImpact NH

Workers cast firearms parts at Sturm, Ruger's Newport foundry

As federal lawmakers grapple with tighter gun control laws, business is good for the firearms industry.  Across the country, gun dealers can’t keep them on the shelves, and manufacturers can’t keep up with demand.

But how do these trends affect New Hampshire’s economy?

If you pick up a Sturm, Ruger gun—rifle, pistol, revolver, assault rifle -odds are it was made in Newport, New Hampshire.  Or at least, parts of it were cast in the company’s on-site foundry, and shipped to Ruger’s other factory, in Arizona.

“It takes about two or three hours to make a gun from components into the box,” says Tom Sullivan, Vice President of Newport Operations for Sturm, Ruger. “Every product we make at this point is very popular, and we have large backlogs on every product we make.” Continue Reading

After Board Vote, LGC Chief Steps Down

Amanda Loder/StateImpact New Hampshire

The Local Government Center will see new leadership almost immediately.

After about four years as head of the Local Government Center, Executive Director Maura Carroll is stepping down.

During most of her tenure as Executive Director, Maura Carroll headed an embattled LGC.  The state’s Bureau of Securities Regulation contends that for years, the LGC overcharged communities for health insurance premiums and improperly used funds.  The case went to a hearing officer last summer, who ordered the LGC to return more than $53 million to communities.  Continue Reading

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